Ceddanne Rafaela celebrates after hitting a two-run homer in the 10th inning of the Red Sox’s 5-3 win over the Yankees on Friday in New York. The Red Sox won 2 of 3 from the Yankees to improve to nine games over .500. Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The Boston Red Sox rolled into Fenway Park early Monday morning riding a mid-summer wave of good vibes. They won 2 of 3 games against the Yankees in the Bronx, have three players headed to the All-Star Game, and hold an American League playoff spot.

After Sunday night’s 3-0 win, the Red Sox are 29-17 away from home, the second-best road record in the majors. Now they need to turn it on at home, where they are 20-23. They’re the only team with an overall winning record to have a losing record at their own ballpark. That has to change if the Sox expect to keep the good times rolling.

They were rolling last week. The Red Sox wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Marlins with a grind-it-out 12-inning win on the Fourth of July. They blew two-run leads in the eighth and the 10th but outlasted the last-place Marlins. A day later the Sox staged their best comeback of the year with a shocking 10-inning win over the Yankees. The Red Sox were down to their final strike before Masataka Yoshida tied it with a two-run homer in the ninth. Ceddanne Rafaela then hit a two-run shot of his own in the 10th to give Boston a 5-3 win.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” Manager Alex Cora said after Friday’s win. “They don’t stop playing. They enjoy themselves, too. I talked to (Miami Manager) Skip Schumaker and he’s like, ‘Man, you guys play hard.’ That’s a testament to who they are and what they’re all about.”

Romy Gonzalez makes a throw during a game against the Orioles at Fenway Park in April. The Red Sox are 20-23 in Boston this season. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

If only the Red Sox could play like that at home.

The Sox are hitting .248 at Fenway, compared to .255 on the road. They’re averaging 5.1 runs a game on the road, a big improvement over the 4.3 runs per game at home. On the mound their 3.26 road ERA is the best in baseball, while their 3.97 home ERA is 21st.


The correlation between success at home and success in the standings is clear. Over the last five seasons the Red Sox have had a winning percentage of .600 or better at home just once, in 2021. That was also the only time they made the postseason in that stretch. That’s not a coincidence.

Before the season, Cora repeatedly said one of his biggest goals was for his team to play better at home. That hasn’t happened. The Sox opened the home schedule with four straight losses and were 3-7 in their first homestand. They’ve basically played .500 at Fenway since.

Cora told me earlier this season that he has seen recent Red Sox teams pressing at Fenway, which is understandable for a young team still trying to find its way. It’s also understandable for an organization that has faced withering criticism from New England fans and media.

Yet this team has built a considerable amount of unexpected confidence over the past three weeks, a stretch that began with series wins over the Phillies and Yankees at Fenway. They added to that stash of belief in themselves with this weekend’s two wins in New York. Cora’s team began the week just three losses behind the Yankees and was adding pressure to the front office to pick up impact players before the July 30 trade deadline.

The manager has implored his team not to confuse confidence with complacency. He doesn’t want players satisfied to be the hunted in the playoff race. He wants them to want more.

“Understanding where we are in the standings, we have to just keep getting greedy,” Cora said Sunday night.

Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Oakland A’s is the Red Sox’s 90th game of the season. It’s no longer early, and the Red Sox are very much alive. A lot of good things have come together for Cora’s squad. The final step would be to bring a home-field advantage back to life at Fenway.

This week, with good vibes all around, would be a very good time to start.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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